Telegraph accused of inflammatory coverage after claiming half of coronavirus cases comes from Pakistan

How the Telegraph and Mail Online reported the story. Photograph: Twitter.

How the Telegraph and Mail Online reported the story. Photograph: Twitter. - Credit: Archant

The Telegraph is facing calls to correct its a headline - featured prominently on its website - which claimed that half of coronavirus cases in the UK were imported from Pakistan.

The newspaper reported 'half of Britain's imported coronavirus cases originate from Pakistan', but the figure actually represents just numbers from the last month.

Public Health England confirmed the small figure of around 30 cases were since June 4 rather than across the whole of the pandemic.

During this time there had been 2,341 cases around the United Kingdom.

But the newspaper also appeared to suggest more than 4,000 new coronavirus cases per day since March 1, a date from where 65,000 people flew from the country into Britain.

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Pakistan's Health Ministry, however, did not confirm a single-day rise of more than 4,000 cases until early June.

Moreover, a major study - conducted by the by the Covid-19 Genomics UK consortium (Cog-UK) - earlier this month revealed that a clear majority of initial cases had come Europe.

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Between February and March the researchers tracked the majority of origins to Spain, Italy and France rather than further afield.

Such claims about Pakistan were also reported by the Mail Online and The Sun.

Sayed Bukhari, special assistant to Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan, branded the coverage 'shameless racism' and 'irresponsible reporting'.

Tell MAMA (which stands for Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) also said it had received reports from the public expressing concerns about the misleading coverage.

A petition is now calling for the newspaper watchdog to intervene, claiming that it will increase hate crime in Britain as a result.

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